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Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy

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MO.DO. biography
This Italian symphonic prog band had the misfortune of starting out at a time when prog bands were being ousted by punk with a vengeance. In 1978, former DALTON drummer Walter Locatelli had got together with guitarist Stefano Barzaghi, bassist Roberto Calleoni, keyboardist/vocalist Gian Antonio Merisio and guitarist/flutist/vocalist Valerio Cherubini to form MO.DO. In 1980, they released an album whose limited distribution, coupled with the lack of interest from the media, precipitated the band's demise.

"La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re", which has since been reissued on CD by Mellow Records, is a very decent symphonic prog album featuring mostly guitars and keyboards with an emphasis on the flute; the few sparse vocals are sung in Italian. Stylistically, it seems to display two personalities: when the flute, acoustic and soft electric guitar prevail, you'll be thinking of your typical smooth, classic Italian prog band; when clanging guitars, aggressive organ and odd-time signatures take over, you'll more likely be reminded of GENTLE GIANT.

Not absolutely essential but could be of interest to fans of PFM, BANCO, LOCANDA DELLE FATE, GENFUOKO.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy MO.DO. Music

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MO.DO. discography

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3.46 | 34 ratings
La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re

MO.DO. Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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MO.DO. Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re by MO.DO. album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.46 | 34 ratings

La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re
MO.DO. Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Following the disbanding of Dalton,their drummer Walter Locatelli still remained musically in progressive fields,forming this Mo.Do. band in November 1978.The rest of the crew included guitarist/flute player/singer Valerio Cherubini, keyboardist/singer Gianantonio Merisio, bassist Roberto Colleoni and guitarist Stefano Barzaghi.Their sole album ''La Scimmia Sulla Schiena del Re'' was released on the obscure label IAF,a really rare production nowadays,fortunately re-issued on CD by Mellow Records in 1993.

Far from being unique,Mo.Do played some smooth yet trully adventurous Progressive Rock with very strong PFM influences but also obvious LE ORME and GENTLE GIANT hints.Their sound was fairly split between acoustic textures with a pastoral edge and keyboard-based symphonic arrangements with a complex approach.Especially the instrumental parts are more than interesting,often containing dual guitars interplays and Classical-influenced keyboard attacks with heavy use of organ and moog synthesizers.Add to this style somekind of a complicated funkier mood at moments with a light GENTLE GIANT vibe.Mostly instrumental,these long demanding passages are sometimes interrupted by vocal-led parts with a folky edge in a certain PFM mood,featuring always polyphonic arrangements and calm electric solos.

Of course the interest in Progressive Rock had faded a long time ago and the band reasonably dissolved around the spring of 1984.But they left us a decent heritage with ''La Scimmia Sulla Schiena del Re'', a great album of Classic Italian Prog,not personal at all,still well-executed.Fans of the aforementioned bands should be the first to seek out for this item.

 La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re by MO.DO. album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.46 | 34 ratings

La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re
MO.DO. Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mo.Do is almost a forgotten progressive rock band from Italy who had a shor career but manage to release a single album in 1980 named La scimmia sulla schiena del re. As the liner notes of the CD said the band was formed in 1978 by the drumer Walter Locatelli of another italian outfit from this field named Dalton.and played and prformed six years until thier break in fall of 1984. The Cd was re issued by already famous Mellow records in 1993. The music is very well composed a cross between PFM and Gentle Giant with that specific italian atmosphere. I was very pleasent surprised, all pieces stands as good, some of them even great. The album is shor nearly 35 min only, but better this way, shor and good then long and boring. Another plus is that almost all album is instrumental, only 2 pieces from 8 are with voice. The tracks are short around 4-5 min each with exception last piece, but they incorporated very well the progressive elements here, very good musicianship, intristing arrangements, keeping in mind that the album was released in 1980, when prog music was no more a fashion. I like the album a lot, for sure not a masterpiece but a very good and enjoyble release. 4 stars for me.

 La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re by MO.DO. album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.46 | 34 ratings

La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re
MO.DO. Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Carrying the torch through the dark years

MO.DO. is a band from Bergamo formed in 1978 and featuring the drummer from Dalton. At a time when the Italian prog scene was in some decline, as was prog in general, these guys managed to release a decent album in 1980. Quirky is a word I've seen used to describe them and the shoe fits. Scented Gardens calls them "symphonic rock almost like a direct cross between Gentle Giant and PFM." They do start with something of a pastoral Italian symphonic base twisted with various eclectic stripes.

Bands that come to mind for comparison would include Errata Corrige for the pastoral vibe and crisp playing, perhaps a bit of Citta Frontale snap there as well. Even a bit of folksy charm in the flute and acoustic guitars of the opening. Another similar project would be Pierpaolo Bibbo's fine "Diapason" (a bit better album than this) which also takes the pastoral symphonic base into somewhat uncharted waters as far as the finished sound goes. There is a modernity and freshness to both albums that few from this period match. An economy in the approach while still trying to court the elements of progressive rock that they enjoyed. The Gentle Giant influence people mention is obvious although not very constant and MoDo do not possess the depth of the best Giant compositions. The PFM comparisons are also a bit misleading in that MoDo fall well short of that quality level. Nevertheless the album is a good one. They run the gamut from uptempo instrumentals (Grindel) to smooth, laid-back pieces with nice male/female vocals floating on a sea of string-synth (Tramonto, Gulliver). They will even turn on the "heavy" with organ and electric guitar (Oltre la terza porta) and though the results are pretty tame, the up-front bass and drumming are really tight and synch into this punchy rhythm---nice stuff. The contrast between the pastoral and the quirky uptempo jams are not so sensibly handled and give the album a bit of a disjointed feeling in overall effect---variety is great but transitions can be handled better than they are here. The closing title track is the longest at 6 minutes showing how some of the prog excess has been wrung out of this cloth. It's a good number that brings the most potential to the table despite those darn bouncy Gentle Giant rhythms that can get tiring. An interesting Mellow rarity but well short of a great album to me. 2 1/2 stars.

 La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re by MO.DO. album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.46 | 34 ratings

La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re
MO.DO. Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

4 stars Bravo for the Monkey on the King's Back!!

Formed from the ashes of Dalton, Mo.Do. released an album in 1980 that would have been at home about five years earlier. Their only album "La Scimmia Sulla Schiena di Re" is a nice (although too short) collection of songs that partake of the spirit of the second wave of 1970's RPI, leaning toward the more pastoral side. There are several numbers which are up-tempo, and there is in these songs an undeniable Gentle Giant feel! This is an unusual source of inspiration for RPI, but the other typical mellow RPI flavors are definitely there too, including nice vocal harmonies and textures featuring acoustic guitars, organs and other keyboards, and a great rhythm section.

Five of the eight songs are instrumentals. Some of these are fairly complex in arrangement, somewhat less so in rhythm and theme. My favorite instrumentals are "Preludio" and "Grindel." "Preludio" opens with classic RPI sounding keys and acoustic guitar, gradually moving into a bouncy, folksy theme. This evolves into a more pastoral sounding section, where a flute and bass guitar join in. Then the keys come back in, paving the way for the electric guitar flourish, just before the solo keyboard outro.

The three tracks with vocals sound straight from 1975 RPI. My favorite is "Tramonto" (the others are "Gulliver" and the title track). This comes from the singer/songwriter tradition, featuring straightforward but solid rhythm, strummed acoustic guitar over nice keyboards, and some nostalgic vocals, including classic RPI harmonies.

Overall, this album is a gem in the tradition of classic RPI, although released in a time when prog had fallen out of favor. Bravo to them! Although more pastoral and in places more complex than their ancestral band Dalton, they nevertheless reach the heights of their predecessors. 3.5 stars, nostalgically rounded up.

 La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re by MO.DO. album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.46 | 34 ratings

La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re
MO.DO. Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Zepher

4 stars Well, looks like I'm the 2nd person to review this forgotten gem! Don't let the release date fool you(1980), this is not a prog/disco album. It's actually a well crafted early to mid ' 70s style progressive mini masterpiece. Coming in at just over 33 mins, the ending comes pretty quick. Ithink if it had come out a few years earlier, it would be right up there with the likes of Banco, PFM, New Trolls ect. At their livliest, they remind me a lot of Gentle Giant, with their off-beats and weird time signatures. Actually, at times it sounds like they are trying a little too hard to be a 2nd Generation Giant, but it's done in a very tasteful way. Strangely, I find myself attracted to the softer mellower side of this album, which is very seldom the case with Italian Prog. I think it's because many of the quieter parts of this album are purly instrumental. Since I don't speak Italian, I find myself making up my own very covincing Italian sounding language in these quiet passages, and sounding a little like Franco Mussida from PFM (on a bad day). This is the only album that's ever caused me to do such a thing! I recomend this album to all lovers of ' 70s Italian Progressive Rock. If you do buy this CD, try the Franco Mussida impersonation's during the softer passage's, if you can stay in tune, it's easier than you may think! Good luck!!!
 La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re by MO.DO. album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.46 | 34 ratings

La Scimmia Sulla Schiena Del Re
MO.DO. Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Steve Hegede
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I bought this CD many years ago around the same time that I was discovering classic Italian prog bands like BANCO, LOCANDA DELLE FATE, and PFM. At the time, I thought that MO.DO. were okay, but placed the CD aside in favor of the major Italian classics. Well, the years went by, and I recently gave MO.DO. a few spins thinking that my opinion of them would probably remain unchanged. My opinion changed. "La scimmia sulla schiena del Re" was recorded around 1980. I'm not sure if it was released as an LP around that time, or if it was rescued by Mellow Records 15 years later. The band's music is influenced by the classic Italian prog era, and sounds rather modern even today. By "modern" I mean that the instruments, and recording equipment, sound post-1970s without sounding dated today. What struck me about the music is that melodies have everything in common with groups like PFM, BANCO, QVL. The band seemed to want to continue the legacy of Italian progressive rock without repeating it (although a section here and there might remind you of some of the classic bands). Each track features rather long instrumental sections driven by electric guitar, and keyboards(which include piano, Moog Opus 3, and Moog synth). Their drummer also plays in the typical energetic Italian prog-drummer style. Overall, MO.DO. sadly remains an underrated band. I guess compared to bands from the classic Italian era they are okay. But, compared to prog that was released between 1979-1992, MO.DO. are certainly one of the best.
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